Superhuman Force: the Mars – Pluto Contact

The Mars Pluto contact is characterised by Ebertin as ‘Superhuman Force’. It is an entirely apt description, since one of the key understandings of Hadean energy is that, like the atomic power it rules, it creates an incredible reservoir of hidden power. Nuclear fusion is carried on in the deepest recesses of the power station, volcanic process occurs in the deepest subterranean realms and when either finds its way out, devastation and destruction inevitably results; this is a force that ought not see the light of day.

Harnessed properly and handled with respect and caution though nuclear energy can provide enormous benefits. Similarly, a volcanic eruption can induce a sense of wonder and local inhabitants can be moved to a position of safety beforehand, providing the seismologists have done their work. The key observation though is that Plutonic force needs very careful handling and should be handled respectfully, and nowhere is this more in evidence than where it provides the motive power for Martian energy, which is already hot enough all on its own.

Today then, I wish to explore an intriguing insight, that while it is ostensibly concerned with Mars and Pluto in the astrology, gives perhaps an even starker insight into the fundamental quality of aspects than the contact between these potentially volatile planetary powers alone. Any Mars – Pluto contact contains an intimation of superhuman force, regardless of its quality and the square need be no more difficult than the trine in the long term. Squares and oppositions require transformation due to their abrupt and limiting influence on the life; trines and sextiles by contrast are able to bump along much more comfortably and this is why a trine can so easily devolve into something a little decadent, or even sleazy in some cases. Let us consider some examples.


All of these individuals evince a Mars-Pluto contact in their astrology albeit of a differing arc; in every case Pluto is in the sign of Virgo. Consider the nature of the different aspects first. The square creates an inner drive or tension which manifests out of consciousness as an abrupt, tense and somewhat edgy impetus. The opposition is a tendency to disown our dissonant characteristics and transfer them onto others and often manifests as interpersonal discord or relationship dysfunction. The trine by contrast creates ease and subjective enjoyment and the native can leverage the frictionless exchange of energies between the planets. The conjunction is the most innate and intrinsic form of contact, it becomes a more fundamental and integral facet of personality than any other type of contact.

Thus, Jack Black first of all who with Mars in wild, free-roaming Sagittarius evinces the square to Pluto in Virgo. Here the superhuman force is felt as a great inner tension that makes the energy rather abrupt, tense and potentially explosive. Mars forms the apex of a tee-square from Moon in Pisces opposing Pluto. Moon square Mars is classically disputatious and abrupt, and can manifest as a rather headstrong tendency to rashness. Add to this the force of Mars – Pluto and the abruptness of the square aspect and immediately it is possible to see how Jack is metamorphosed from a usually reserved and potentially timid Virgo into a raging rock monster. And, the fact is, you can see Mars square Pluto in his eyes.

Rob Lowe by contrast will not evince the same forceful tendency simply because the opposition does not internalise like the square: in direct contrast in fact, it externalises instead. Lowe’s manner is almost opposite to that of Jack Black’s, none of the edgy, abrupt energy is in evidence, in fact, he seems to be, by contrast, almost soporifically meek and non-confrontational. This is because the tension and force of Mars Pluto is transferred onto others, so Lowe may consider others to be brutal, forceful and cruel without claiming any of those difficult qualities for himself, however, he will probably fool nobody except himself, because none of us can ever fully outsource our oppositions and those who know him well might consider him to be ruthlessly ambitious, which is certainly one of the most common difficult manifestations of this placement. Another classic interpretation of Mars/Pluto is concerned with sexual drive and vigour, and the opposition could well farm out those darker biological drives inappropriately. In 1988, Lowe was involved in a sex scandal over a videotape of him having sex with two females, one of whom was sixteen, in Atlanta while attending the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Lowe has asserted that he did not know that the second girl was underage, and it was confirmed that the two had met at a bar, which the girl entered by lying about her age. Another part of the same tape was leaked at the time, showing Lowe, a young American model named Jennifer, and Justin Morris having a ménage à trois in a hotel room in Paris. This part of the original tape was sold as one of the first commercially available celebrity sex tapes, damaging his public image.He later entered a rehabilitation clinic for alcohol and sex addiction. Lowe is currently involved in several ongoing legal disputes with three former nannies claiming sexual harassment. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the various situations, there is no denying the potential for use of force (Pluto) in sexual matters (Mars) being used inappropriately against others (opposition). It is equally possible however, that he is (as he claims) the victim of inappropriate sexual accusations himself, for the purpose of obtaining financial rewards. Mars – Pluto can seek advancement without much concern for the moralities.

Ben Stiller enjoys the Mars Pluto trine, which at its best bestows great self-confidence and tireless ambition, the ability to work without rest in order to achieve one’s objectives. With Mars in the 7th and exalted in Capricorn he no doubt displays an easy ability to relate with a measure of intensity within close personal relationships and he has certainly enjoyed a generally uncomplicated married life to date with Christine Taylor, with whom he co-starred in the movie Dodgeball.

For Kevin Spacey, the conjunction plays out in a much more integrated manner as a key component of personality. Mars is of course a personal planet, so it will be expressed at the very core of being whereas Pluto, impersonal and distant, simply cannot be unless it is in some sense blended into some more intrinsic facet of the person. The conjunction performs this exact function in a manner that is entirely more complete and unquestioned than any of the other aspect possibilities. Mars in Virgo gives a curiously asexual quality to the persona, a tendency which is only given a strangely compulsive quality by the proximity of Pluto, here is someone that is methodical and pays attention to detail and has an ability to work on the small-stuff all day long without tiring or losing focus.


Consider briefly these equivalent case studies in female astrology, where Mars changes its focus subtly. Davina McCall evinces the edgy and ambitious quality of the contact and certainly there is an abrupt and decidedly tense facet to her nature that is immediately evident. For Cindy Crawford the opposition is found across the MC/IC with Mars on the Midheaven and conjunct Saturn, both in dreamy Pisces. The neatening and intense polarity of Pluto in Virgo however, is unmistakable. Shannen Doherty who enjoys the trine has a reputation for being ruthlessly ambitious and has experienced considerable turbulence in her personal relationships, while Teri Hatcher embodies the quality of Mars-Pluto in Virgo forming a stellium with Uranus all of which tightly squares her Sun in Sagittarius in the 9th giving enormous drive to realise her ambitions.

Any aspect, crucially, between Mars and Pluto therefore gives enormous energy, drive and ambition, the nature of the aspect will only in truth modify the manner in which it manifests.

The Subjectivity Trap: a Disclaimer

In the past I have made a habit of writing articles based broadly upon the extant themes of my own life and experience, however, it appears that a number of third parties with whom I have no relationship whatever, nor have ever had any relationship, and indeed with whom I most fervently hope never to have any relationship in light of their manner of relating have determined that what I write constitutes an affront.

I have also in a separate incident been threatened with legal action for expounding my distress at being denied access to my children. My wife’s hurt, derived from our separation I have much sympathy for despite the fallout from her subsequent choices and the anguish caused me by them. I miss my children terribly, that is all, it is not a condemnation.

In light of these fraught developments I will from this point forward only explore on this journal astrological subjects that have no bearing upon my own prevailing life situation. I will instead be writing entirely private posts in a separate journal which will explore my insights relating to transits, progressions and arcs and their effects: my purpose is only to further the study of astrology and since I have no other life than my own, I rather audaciously reserve the right to contemplate it and indeed to share it with other astrologers. Working on the premise that you ought to have no grounds for complaint if you ask for a smack in the teeth and subsequently receive one, if you do not enjoy my observations then please no longer attend to them.

I will be creating this new journal to discuss – frankly and with daring subjectivity – my personal insights: I will not link it from this journal, nor will I make any traceable connection to that content; however, if you would like to be informed of my personal journal’s location then you need only send an email to: and I will respond with the new journal’s address.

If you are one of those persons who – as a result of reading my articles – has determined to take such great offence at your own inferences then please do not ask for the address. I neither encourage nor desire your subscription or the dubious benefit of your deductions about my motives, which incidentally – based as they are upon the most unreliable hearsay it is possible to conceive of – are so far from balanced and fair as to have no merit whatever. It would normally be considered the most basic of courtesies in civilised society to – at the very least - meet the accused in person before he is condemned.

I have no interest whatever in a rebuttal of a conclusion arrived at through a failure to follow even the most simplistic argument; but since “show and tell” psychology appears to be the order of the day I will briefly explain, for the benefit of those who find the written medium difficult to reconcile with a sense of proportion, the basic premise of my article on Saturn-Pluto. The key points were:

  1. I have been experiencing a Saturn transit to Pluto over the last few weeks.
  2. As often proves out in astrology, transits operate through third parties, ergo:
  3. I have been experiencing interactive difficulties with Saturn-Pluto types, some of whom I mentioned (as is my right in an enlightened democracy).
  4. The most celebrated Saturn-Pluto generation of recent times fell in the year 1946.
  5. Reinhold Ebertin (not me!) determined that the organic imperative of Saturn-Pluto is calcification and Leo rules the heart in the physical body.
  6. This is why heart blockage (i.e: calcification (Sa/Pl) of the heart (Leo)) is one of the key understandings of Saturn-Pluto in Leo. No astrologer on the planet would disagree with this.
  7. By stating this astrological insight I am not wishing harm on any person, nor causing any biological dysfunction to them, neither am I even making any connection between Ebertin’s stated tenets and any individual or individuals except those three case studies which were discussed in the article. To claim otherwise is spurious and entirely misleading, the article stated outright that a transformed Sa/Pl in Leo had the potential to display an astonishing depth of compassion and love and to selectively determine my intent through entirely subjective reasoning is nothing more than shabby equivocation and an utterly unfair reflection of my motives and of the article itself.
  8. On the other hand, it is a basic human right (in an enlightened democracy) to consider astrology to be vacuous, dangerous and misleading, which applies in just the same way to all beliefs, philosophies and dogmas. Knock yourself out. Preferably keeping it to yourself if at all possible (although I understand that it might not be entirely possible for certain individuals with anger, entitlement and boundary issues).

This afternoon I will be publishing an article on Mars-Pluto which has no especial bearing on my life, no hidden agenda, no intimation of malice toward any person or persons, living or dead. It is just an article about astrology which I have written for those people who have an interest in astrology.

Sincerely, Jeremy (not Rasputin or Mesmer).

More Marital Breakdown

dr02I would like to very briefly pursue another theme from the previous post and explore a little further some of the implications found within the astrology of Denise Richards, the (now) ex-wife of Charlie Sheen. The couple are still involved in an acrimonious custody dispute over their two children. Back in May Celebrity Justice ran with this story:

Denise Richards is making her kids reality television stars and her fuming ex-husband Charlie Sheen is powerless to stop her. Daughters, Lola, 2, and Sam, 3, are headed for Hollywood, as Denise is making the rounds on the nation’s talk show circuit this week promoting a new reality show about her home life called “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated.” But what this star is also highlighting is her ruthless decision to showcase her two toddlers on television in an attempt to jumpstart her career.

What transpires from the remainder of this story is yet more sordid and rather unsavoury grist for the vicarious mill of celebrity-worship, the parry and riposte of two people behaving with considerably less class than their children, but that aside, no tale of separation would be complete without an exploration of both participants’ astrologies. Denise Richards’ situation is immeasurably complicated most especially in the matter of marriage and divorce by lack of a birth time, without a descendant much invaluable insight is lost, although there are a few interesting configurations which will have a bearing nonetheless.

Denise Richards, actress. 17 Feb 1972, time unknown.

Denise Richards, actress. 17 Feb 1972, time unknown.

  1. Mercury is Cazimi, which in Aquarius gives  a slightly offbeat and quirkily exalted manner of communication, this alone ought to make Richards very intriguing to know, but the square to Saturn is undoubtedly difficult. The impression that she gives of being free and unfettered is likely to jar incongruously by a no-doubt materialistic streak and any Sun-Saturn stress very often manifests as a tendency to difficult separations, undoubtedly a factor in the marriage breakdown.
  2. While Charlie Sheen has a difficult Sun-Pluto opposition, Richards is very much the feminine counterpart with Moon opposition Pluto. Here then is someone that is prone to jealousy and emotional upset, Pluto sits on the Aries Point of Libra too, thus a possibility of fame or renown through marriage which essentially jars with a rather aggressive instinctive nature and a tendency to mania. She probably goes off-reservation when she starts to feel insecure or uncomfortable as a result making disputes more serious than they might otherwise need be.
  3. Uranus is Ptolemaically peregrine in Libra. This need not be an especial difficulty, although it can create shocks and upsets in close partnerships if the rest of the chart shows a tendency to extremes which is certainly in evidence here. Usually there are somewhat peculiar ideas about marriage and a need to be given a great deal of consideration, otherwise trouble results, irritability can be a problem too. The quindeciles to Moon and Mars will only add compulsion and stress, however the key observation is the inclination to form partnerships with unusual individuals.
  4. Tee-squared Jupiter in dour Capricorn is a profoundly difficult placement suggesting a serious lack of joie-de-vivre, especially in earlier life. It creates a surfeit of potentially cold ambition and a great deal of stress, most especially because she will struggle to feel very optimistic or positive.
  5. Although not rendered, Venus is conjunct Chiron, an aspect which I wrote about recently on the excellent Jeff’s site Sasstrology thus: The conjunction will probably be felt most keenly as the “pain of love.” Perhaps our relationships cause us continual anxiety and uncertainty, or we feel insecure even when we know we should not really. Mostly, with the conjunction it creates an intense longing for love, but crucially, even when love is found, it does not feel secure enough. For this connection, it seems that no amount of love is ever enough. We feel others’ pain and unhappiness, too — especially in close personal relationships — and may tend to take ownership of it, and feel that it is a sign of wrongness in the partnership. We may try to heal those with whom we are in love as a means of avoiding the necessity to heal ourselves, and we might become quite difficult to love as a result. Both Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Monroe shared this aspect.
  6. Both Sun and Venus are detrimented but Venus is well aspected and forms a mutual reception with Mars which creates an excellent attractive influence in her nature and manner.

It is more than a little unfortunate that the birth-time is not known, but the overall ambience is still quite clear; here is a quirky and attractive personality that manifests a fair degree of stress and difficulty within relationships. There is also a definite potential for extreme emotional states which is certainly exacerbated by an almost complete lack of water, which always creates a tendency to overreact to conflict due to an inability to empathise; such people very often cannot appreciate the hurt they cause or the consequences of their venom.

The Astrology of Marital Breakdown…

Outer transits to the descendant can play havoc with the happily ever after...

Outer planet transits to the descendant can play havoc with the happily ever after...

It is unfortunate that love, perhaps more in keeping with Artemis than Aphrodite both waxes and wanes and there is no doubt whatever where the one is wondrous and fair, the other may often be laced with venom. I have advised a considerable number of clients in this particular regard and I have enough theoretical and practical experience of the astrology of marital breakdown to be able predict with some accuracy the likely course of such difficulties. In the event, knowing that it may all be for the best does not stop the vitriol and judgement of vaguely interested third parties, nor does it assuage the anguish of those more intimately configured, but if this life is to stand for anything at all – other than an empty and vainglorious accumulation of accolades and possessions – then sometimes a small measure of acceptance is the only compassionate path through such difficulty.

In reality, the astrology can provide a considerable insight into the conditions of the marriage, and further, the conditions at the end of a marriage; today I wish to look at various aspects of the psychology and the astrology of marriage breakdown and try to place the often narrow focus of the Saturnine detractor in a broader human context, one that the great Joseph Campbell determined thus: “Where the moralist would be filled with indignation and the tragic poet with pity and terror, [mythology (astrology)] breaks the whole of life into a vast, horrendous Divine Comedy. Its Olympian laugh is not escapist in the least, but hard, with the hardness of life itself – which, we may take it, is the hardness of God, the Creator.  [This] makes the tragic attitude seem somewhat hysterical, and the merely moral judgement shortsighted. Yet the hardness is balanced by an assurance that all that we see is but the reflex of a power that endures, untouched by the pain.” (Joseph Campbell, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces: The Monomyth” pp 45-46 – Princeton University Press 1949).

Astrologically there is no surprise that the vast majority of marital breakdowns occur between the ages of 36 and 42; the dissonance between a third Jupiter return and the Uranus half-return creates a tense space in which the unexplored horizons of earlier life crash jarringly into the phenomenon identified by Jung as the mid-life crisis; a term much maligned by laymen ever since. Jung well understood, as a student of astrology himself the need to identify a sudden revolution in the personal apprehension of life’s meaning that the Uranus opposition instantiated, he termed it a crisis only in the sense that it was a necessary precipitation that would well-up and finally run-free into a more inclusive contact with the Universe; for without crisis there could not be growth. This then in Jung’s view was not a great conjuration, but rather an opportunity. Of course, where Uranus, God of the skies draws us out, Saturn, his castrator and nemesis holds us back and this is the choice we all face during these crucial years: to grow and evolve, or to heed Kronos’ dull and dire laments and begin the slow shuffle into spiritual decline and death. The ‘crisis’ then, whilst not being limited to the institution of marriage, invariably promulgates an upheaval in all areas where scrutiny is required in the scope of a human life, and marriage is inevitably thus configured.

Astrologically it is clear, as it ought to be in mere psychology; the marriage that is basically sound and fulfilling to both parties ought to have nothing to fear from the various returns, progressions and transits at mid-life or indeed at any other time. If there is serious lack, imbalance, incompatibility or suppression of self then it will eventually find its way out, as ever through the various etheric and physical vehicles, spirit or body, creating anxiety, nervous disorder, depression or illness. In such a case, the result is very often a breakdown either within the marriage, or of the marriage itself.

Much can be gleaned from the ruler of the descendant, applications to it or its ruler by transit or progression, and the interactions within the nativity itself. Any of the outer planets crossing the 7th house cusp will instantiate at the very least a serious re-examination of marital objectives and a fair degree of analysis of the conditions within the marriage. Uranus crossing the 7th will create the potential for a sudden break, Neptune a dissolving, often with a difficulty to grasp what exactly is wrong, Pluto a grinding down and an invariably painful insight into the deeper psychology of oneself. Pluto purges us of compulsions and unconscious dependence too, and in the house of marriage this can often shine a new light upon our union; Pluto does not unearth only the difficult however, he also exposes previously unimagined treasures, and the same can be said for all outer transits, providing we understand that we cannot simply stand firm and resist. Life is a journey, we cannot refuse to get on the train.

This is not to say that an outer transit to the 7th cusp or ruler will always signify a marital breakdown, far from it: a basically balanced and sound partnership that fulfils the needs and desires of both parties ought to have nothing to fear.

Then too, look to the sign on the cusp of the 8th and its ruler for an insight into the nature of the break-up itself, should it occur. The 8th of course is analogous to the 2nd of the 7th, thus it determines the manner of the division of shared property – and the 8th is the house of joint resources for precisely this reason. Furthermore, the 8th rules endings, so the ruler and its condition as well as any tenants herein will give a further clue to the manner of the split. If Aries, Scorpio or Mars is configured, do not expect an amicable settlement, Saturn or Capricorn will make the process slow and practical and take all the joy out of it too, Venus, Taurus or Libra should allow some measure of grace or at least politeness to infiltrate proceedings; and in every case this bears out.

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards underwent a deeply acrimoious split

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards underwent a deeply acrimoious split

As an example, the breakdown of Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen’s union with actress and glamour model Denise Richards  is worthy of study. After two daughters and only 4 years of marriage, Richards filed for divorce citing unreasonable behaviour. Currently Sheen and Richards are engaged in an acrimonious custody dispute over their two daughters, with Richards requesting a custody evaluation, no overnight visits for Sheen, and authority to make decisions regarding the care of the children. Richards alleges abusive behavior by Sheen toward her and staff, paranoid behavior regarding the care of the children, and that he continues to have gambling and drug addictions. Sheen denies these allegations and further alleges that Richards later requested sperm from him in order to have another child. In short the split has been neither smooth nor swift.

00) New York, NY USA

Charlie Sheen, actor. 3 Sep 1965 22:48 EST (+05:00) New York, NY USA

Sheen’s astrology evinces a number of fascinating conditions although I will confine the majority of my insights to those specific issues relating to the marriage and in particular its breakdown. It is interesting to note the great difficulties denoted by the 3 point stellium of Su/Ur/Pl in Virgo – thus control and self control problems – opposed by Sa/Ch in the 10th, which immediately tells you something about his public life and the legacy of his father too no doubt. Peregrine Venus in Libra and the 5th is really the runaway factor and entirely describes, particularly in a nativity fueled by Sun conjunct Pluto his self-destructive appetite for licentious gratification: Sheen is reckoned to have slept with as many as 5,000 women in his lifetime and his inability to curb his tendency to sexual excess has damaged his career and his personal relationships.

Most pertinently however, the ruler of the 7th, Jupiter is profoundly stressed in all too flighty Gemini. Gemini on the 7th, or the ruler of the 7th in Gemini always suggests a strong likelihood of 2 or more marriages, but with Jupiter here there is a tendency to really struggle to expand one’s horizons; watch anyone with Jupiter in Gemini trying to have a good time and it is often quite exhausting to behold, they make the taking of ease into such hard work. Here the Moon opposes Jupiter which usually denotes some marital differences, often through being rather wasteful, truculent and generally contrary in one’s manner. Moon in the 7th denotes fluctuating marital conditions and in Sagittarius there are no doubt some boundary issues, an instinctive need for freedom that is not entirely conducive to marital stability at the best of times.

The 8th house ruler however is the key factor in determining the nature of the marital split. With Capricorn configured Saturn is clearly in considerable difficulty even if accidentally dignified; the trines to Mars and Neptune notwithstanding. Saturn ruling the 8th of course determines that the divorce will be difficult, drawn-out and burdensome, and in the 10th: public. The conjunction to Chiron makes it painful and in Pisces, there is little surprise that his history of substance abuse has been cited in the proceedings. The oppositions to the Virgo stellium include Sa/Pl: thus hard labour in Virgo, and a great deal of public (10th) criticism (Virgo) is the result, while the emotional tension of Sa/Ur will have to be endured over a protracted period.

It ought to be noted that having Saturn as ruler of the 8th does not by itself determine that any divorce will be acrimonious: a harmoniously placed and aspected Saturn may indeed allow the process to be handled with dignity and a responsible attitude; in Sheen’s case however, the oppositions from Virgo, and most especially the opposing nature of Pluto will force a power struggle and as with any mundane opposition: themes will be played out through other people.

Their divorce was finalised just as Pluto moved into orb of Moon in Sagittarius and my own view would be that matters will not be completely finalised for Sheen and Richards until the latter part of 2011 when Pluto applies to his 8th house; which might also suggest an entirely unsatisfactory eventual outcome for Sheen in any case.

Of course, the ending of any committed relationship is difficult and painful for all parties, and there are never any winners, but understanding the astrology of these traumatic events at least creates the possibility of knowing the likely course that must be navigated before a more harmonious mode of existence can be enjoyed by all those affected by such traumatic trials.

The Serious Side of Ceres…

Before I begin today I would like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to comment or send an email over these last few days, it has been very sincerely appreciated.

The Jupiter effect is a well-known shortcut to experiencing any given planetary contact; the theory being that as the expanding power of Jupiter contacts a specific point in your nativity, it begins to make itself felt. I myself discovered this principle in a less pleasant manner as Orcus transited across my Jupiter a few months back and my dreams became a frightful flight from an ursine monstrosity through a forest of obsidian trees. Less apprehensible, except by the keenness of its absence however, is the Saturn effect: as the constriction of Saturn applies to a point in your astrology you might become aware of the effect and influence of that particular force in your nativity too as the difficulty and restriction of the archetypal principles become increasingly onerous.

Ceres is not a study to which I have been especially predisposed in the past, not least because it felt somewhat of a halfway house between Hygeia and the Moon, seeming to allude to already catered for principles, thus, its superfluosity, on casual inspection, made it a poor candidate for investigation. As Saturn approached 19 degrees of Virgo however, I began to wonder at it and so, in keeping with my usual methodology, began to investigate the underpinning mythology, for therein lie the deeper clues to any astrological probability. Ceres is, of course, the Roman facsimile for Demeter, and there is little question that the myth of Demeter and Persephone is among the most persistent, profound and intriguing of all the Greek tales.

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (which is a reference to style and not authorship incidentally) is certainly one of the most complete and influential of all the original sources. Demeter, an older sister – and consort – of Zeus was also a sister to Hades (Pluto) and Poseidon (Neptune). Her power and influence ought not be easily discounted therefore and certainly, her ability to control the seasons of the earth is extremely potent: without her consent, the grain would not ripen; this observation is of profound relevance in the development of her story. Zeus fathered by her a daughter, Persephone, who was her mother’s joy, but as the only child of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone was Epikleros, a sole heir to her parents’ estate. In keeping with the social mores of Athens therefore, the marriage of an Epikleros was frequently constrained by expedience, the father would very often marry his daughter to an uncle in order to keep the wealth in the family and since a woman’s consent was neither required nor much valued in the arrangement of marriages, Zeus would have felt no need to tell either Demeter or Persephone of his plan to wed Persephone to his brother Hades.

As the myth goes, Persephone was picking flowers in a meadow when Hades, wearing a mask of invisibility, rose up from out of the earth and dragged her down to Tartarus. The ‘rape of Persephone’ as it became known was not so much descriptive of a physical assault  as it is resonant with a somewhat brutal and insensitive wrench from innocence (picking flowers in a meadow) and a descent into – literal – darkness. There are so many archetypal themes connected with this story, and so much Plutonic material too, that it is a rich vein of insight for the astrologer into themes of Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house too.

The point though in this context, is that Demeter – Ceres – was utterly distraught. At first, not knowing what had happened to her beloved daughter she wandered the earth “making a desert at every step.” Eventually she found a shepherd who had witnessed the abduction and immediately confronted Zeus on Olympus and demanded that he restore her daughter to her. Zeus however was constrained by another attendant reality: any soul, once conveyed down to Tartarus was not allowed to return, it was sacrosanct and designed that way to ensure that the dead stayed dead. Demeter, in her anger and rage, threatened to make an eternal winter on earth so that nothing might grow and all life would end and through this grave threat Zeus was finally forced to broker a deal whereby Persephone would be allowed to return to Demeter’s side for 6 months of the year. Our seasons are thus characterised by 6 months of fertility – where Ceres in her joy promulgates abundance, and 6 months wherein she mourns the absence of Persephone (or Proserpina in the Roman) and nothing will grow.

One of the most key themes of Ceres therefore, is concerned with the abduction or loss of one’s children.

A Saturn contact of course creates a burden and a test, so it is not entirely a surprise to find that my children are being kept from me at this time, and certainly, with Saturn transiting Ceres at 19 degrees of Virgo and fast approaching Pluto at 21 Virgo, these are dark days in prospect. If Ceres (the loss of one’s children) becomes burdensome enough through the attentions of Saturn then the promise of Saturn conjunct Pluto (Ebertin’s aptly named hard-labour), which promises extreme anguish and cruelty seems to loom large. Indeed, with Saturn Pluto going near partile on Christmas Day it appears to be a profound hardship indeed: to be living apart from your children is hard enough, but to be denied even the ability to speak to them will no doubt be very hard to bear, most especially at Christmas.

I hold out little hope for progress. I have taken to writing to my children at their schools in hope of establishing some sort of a reasoned dialogue. Yesterday I received a solicitor’s letter from my wife threatening to take out an injunction preventing me from even being allowed that much contact. My own solicitor has told me that it is laughable in the extreme, certainly without grounds, but it does demonstrate the mindset of my wife, who incidentally has Libra Sun conjunct Virgo Mercury conjunct Pluto. I need say no more really.

If I stand far enough back from the situation I glean some hope from the passing influence of transits, My Saturn transit of Ceres/Pluto has a year in it at best, but within that time frame there are some powerful subsidiary contacts to consider which might give me pause, but beyond this, the key themes of Ceres do include the promise of a reconciliation whereby Zeus (Jupiter, thus commonsense and goodwill) reaches a compromise with Pluto. I pray for that very possibility, without expecting it to happen any day soon.